Charleston—if you haven't noticed already—is an extremely dog-friendly city. You can't walk down the street or go to the beach without seeing someone walking or playing with their furry companion. This is not a new phenomenon either. It seems like there have been lazy dogs laying in the shade of someone's porch for the entirety of Charleston's history.
Having a dog is simply a cultural thing in this part of the country, and Charleston embraces it with lenient dog laws and a relaxed vibe towards our four-legged pals. There are plenty of awesome places to go, and things to do, in and around the city that are dog friendly. Below is a guide to our favorite spots to hang out with those we love most...our dogs.
The Barrel: Perhaps the most dog friendly place in all of Charleston is located on James Island. As a matter of fact, The Barrel almost caters more to canines than it does to people. Walk in through the massive barrel shaped door, grab a cold beer and a bowl of water from the bar, and set your dog free in the fenced-in, 2 acre back yard, complete with misting fans, shade, picnic tables, and even a time-out pen for the pooch if they need some space. There is also a food truck in the back, which is always amazing. Check the website for the schedule, it's a different truck every week.
The Blind Tiger: Outstanding bar food, a huge beer selection, and a big back porch where you and your dog can hang undisturbed for hours on end. The Blind Tiger is a popular bar, but it never gets too crowded, and it's the best environment to meet up after a hike or paddle session with your crew if you want to bring your dog. The staff loves it when they see Fido walk through the front doors and out to the back porch, and a waiter or waitress always brings a bowl of water immediately to your table.
JICP: The James Island County Park has open fields, a huge pond, and miles of trails that wind through shady trees and along marsh. It's basically dog heaven. If you want to spend an afternoon somewhere that both you and your dog will love, head to JICP. Insider's tip: go here if your dog tends to have a ton of energy. The wide open space here will wear him/her out real quick!
Awendaw Passage: If you're a trail runner who likes to run with your companion, head to the Awendaw Passage of the Palmetto Trail. Fourteen miles of flat, sandy trail awaits you just 30 minutes outside of the city, with plenty of points along the trail to take a water break and hang out in the shade. There's mud, sticks, and water—Christmas for your dog and an extremely refreshing change of pace for anyone living in the city that doesn't get to hit the trails very often.
Charleston has a dog park for every borough on the peninsula. This makes it very convenient for the majority of those living downtown to walk down the street, and give their dog the fenced in yard they've always wanted. The best parks are spread throughout the peninsula, and are as follows:
Cannon Park- situated between Ashley Ave. and Rutledge Ave. along Calhoun St.
Andrew B. Murray School Park- at the corner of Broad St. and Ashley
East Bay Playground , located on S. Adger's Wharf near the Waterfront Park
Hampton Park Dog Park , across the street from Park Cafe on Rutledge Ave.
All of these parks are awesome. You meet great people, your dogs have a blast, and there are doggy bag stations and canine water fountains everywhere.